Last Sunday at our Greenville campus, we had an older couple, probably in their sixties, accept Christ. That’s worth celebrating. I love to watch life change happen.
Here’s what’s amazing about stories like that. Our services in Greenville aren’t designed for people in their sixties. Our services are designed for a much younger audience. It’s an audience that loves loud music. They are comfortable with video teaching, because video is already a huge part of their lives. They love the coffeehouse atmosphere.
Here’s what we’ve learned. If we design our service experiences for a younger audience, we’re more likely to reach that younger person and we’ll also reach older folks. The reverse is not true. If we designed our service experience for an older audience, the younger crowd would not show up.
Now, here’s the reality. Most churches in America are designed for an older audience. In fact, the more-seasoned folks in those churches are sitting on committees telling the students and young adults how they can and can’t do ministry. The result? Younger people are leaving churches in droves.
Here’s what I know to be true. If the church is going to continue to reach the next generations:
- I have to be willing to give leadership to people younger than me…and let them make mistakes.
- I have to be willing to let younger folks lead me in worship…even when it’s not my favorite style of music.
- I need to embrace new methods of ministry…even though it makes me uncomfortable.
- I need to pray and encourage and finance the next generation church…and stop trying to make church a place that I like to attend.
It’s not about me. It’s about the people who desperately need to know the hope, love and forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ.
For the ministry of the local church to remain effective, I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.